Monday, October 15, 2007

Chris Cannon picks mercenaries over children

This Thursday, the US House will vote to override President Bush's veto of the State-run Children's Health Insurance Program or S-CHIP. To refresh your memory, Reps. Chris Cannon and Rob Bishop voted against health care for poor-to-middle-class children. This shouldn't be a partisan issue, this program and its compromised expansion has been championed and authored by Sens. Kennedy and Hatch. Governors love the program because it gives them flexibility to implement the coverage and eases state coffers. It is funded by the only politically tenable form of taxation out there (thanks to Conservative Activist Grover Norquist): cigarettes.

Guess what else Cannon is against? Making sure Private companies that kill Iraqi civilians while attempting to protect U.S. governmental officials are accountable under U.S. law. "What's next? Supplying Moqtada al-Sadr with a taxpayer-funded trial lawyer?" Cannon, a Republican from Utah, wrote in piece published last week in the conservative newsletter Human Events. This just shows how stupid Chris Cannon really is. al-Sadr is a Iraqi cleric, and last time I checked, wasn't being paid to protect the U.S. embassy and State Department officials like Blackwater USA is. Furthermore, making a company who merely fires an employee who gets drunk and kills people accountable under U.S. criminal laws is a long as you have some sort of brain apparently. Since his first line of "reasoning" amounts to an apples-to-bowling-balls comparison, he tried this nugget out next:
Under current U.S. and Iraqi laws, contractors have what amounts to immunity.
And Cannon thinks they should. He says success in Iraq hinges on diplomatic efforts. No diplomat has died under Blackwater protection, but if those contractors had to worry about being prosecuted for their actions, they may hesitate.
"If diplomats start being killed because of it, then we are set back," he said.
The diplomatic effort that needs to occur is among Iraqis (especially between Sunnis and Shi'a leaders and militias), and while hopefully the State Department can facilitate that, I don't see the two as linked like Cannon does. A dead American diplomat is the same as a dead American soldier, or a dead Iraqi civilian, or a dead Iraqi moderate...they are all bad for peace and all equally valuable human lives.

Cannon thinks they need to act with impunity because they get results like these:
During the ensuing week, as Crocker and Petraeus told Congress that the surge of more U.S. troops to Iraq was beginning to work and President Bush gave a televised address in which he said "ordinary life was beginning to return" to Baghdad , Blackwater security guards shot at least 43 people on crowded Baghdad streets. At least 16 of those people died.

Two Blackwater guards died in one of the incidents, which was triggered when a roadside bomb struck a Blackwater vehicle.

Still, it was an astounding amount of violence attributed to Blackwater. In the same eight-day period, according to statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers , other acts of violence across the embattled capital claimed the lives of 32 people and left 87 injured, not including unidentified bodies found dumped on Baghdad's streets.

The best known of that week's incidents took place the following Sunday, Sept. 16 , when Blackwater guards killed 11 and wounded 12 at the busy al Nisour traffic circle in central Baghdad .

Iraqi officials said the guards were unprovoked when they opened fire on a white car carrying three people, including a baby. All died. The security guards then fired at other nearby vehicles, including a minibus loaded with passengers, killing a mother of eight. An Iraqi soldier also died.
Is there any thing that Bush could do that Cannon wouldn't support?